There is a lifestyle that comes with knowing and walking with the Lord. That lifestyle is laid out for us in the Scriptures as we read of the things that God loves and also the things that He hates. The proverb for today refers to these things as "the way of Jehovah." Let's take a look at this today and hopefully become wiser as a result.
The word "way" here is the Hebrew word "derek" which refers to a way, a path, a road - and is used often to speak of a way of walking or living. That is why when we see this word we should think of a lifestyle that one has due to the daily choices they make. The way or lifestyle of which we speak is that of the Lord. This word is Jehovah - which is the covenant name of God. So often in Scripture God will speak with His chosen people and lay out a covenant promise. These are usually worded as "if-then" statements. If you will follow the Lord, then He will bless you. What God seeks to do when He says these things is not set up a works mentality in our relationship with Him. What He is seeking to do is to encourage us to understand that making choices consistent with His Word and way will bring great blessing to our lives.
We are told here that this way of Jehovah - is a stronghold to the upright. The word for stronghold is the Hebrew word "maoz." It speaks of a fortress. That fortress is considered a shelter, a refuge, and a place of great safety. It is one that often worked in two ways. It provided natural defense points - but also was situated in such a way that one could easily see the enemy approaching. This gave those in the stronghold protection - and it gave them time to prepare for the coming enemy onslaught. Scripture indicates that God is that fortress - as well as our strength and defense (Psalm 27:1). As we walk with Him in His way - we will find a natural defense against sin - as well as warnings about the enemy and how he will seek to tempt us and get us to rebel against God. As we learn that "way" our lives will be changed by God's Word and His power. We will be delivered from sin - and will better know how to escape the lies of the devil daily.
But the same "way of the Lord" that is a stronghold to the upright - is ruin to those who choose to rebel against God. The word "iniquity" is very important for us to understand if we are to grasp the protection of God afforded to us by walking in His way. The word is from the Hebrew word "awen" and it means, "nothingness, mischief, emptiness, and vanity." The word is used to signify those who pursue meaningless things. They do not walk in God's Word or in God's way. They choose instead ungodliness - which leads them to chase after falsehood. God told us His Word is truth. That protects us - but it also speaks ruin for those who decide they prefer deceit and the lies of this world and of the devil. Another way "awen" is used is to signify an idol - which tells us clearly that those who run after iniquity have made a god of their own. They are worshipping an idol they have created - and prefer to have their idol confirm "their own" truth - as opposed to living by the truth of God - His Word. This is the ruin of the ungodly. They will receive no protection from God's way. Instead they will run headlong into God's wrath and judgment for their disobedience and deceitful choices.
Two ways are put before us in today's proverb. There is the way of making your own god and deciding your own truth. Such a way is foolish because it only amplifies the rebellion that is in the human heart due to the Fall of man. That way will ruin those who follow it. The other way is to choose a truth outside of ourselves. It is to realize the truth is not in us - it is in God. Therefore we choose to turn to Him. We choose to turn to the way He has given us His truth - the Word of God. We also choose daily to walk by His truth (the truth) knowing that by doing so we will have a refuge, a protection, indeed a stronghold to keep us from evil - and to keep us FOR fellowship with our loving, gracious God.